Countrywide Sent Back to State Court

Statement of Eric Halperin, CRL Senior Litigation Counsel and Deputy Director "This morning's New York Times reported that a federal court in Manhattan has declined to take action on a lawsuit pending between Countrywide Financial Corporation and certain mortgage investors. Nothing in the court's decision casts any doubt on mortgage servicers' legal ability to modify distressed loans. Instead, Judge Holwell's decision merely determines that this pending case should be decided by a New York state court, not in federal court as Countrywide had requested. Judge Holwell made this decision without

MBA Report: “Bubble” of Serious Mortgage Delinquencies Growing

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported today that serious mortgage delinquencies (those 90+ days past due or in foreclosure) reached record levels in 2nd Quarter 2009, surpassing the previous record set one quarter earlier. According to new MBA statistics, over 13% of all loans are now past due and 1 in 12 borrowers is seriously delinquent on their mortgage. By comparison, one year earlier just 1 in 22 borrowers was seriously delinquent, and two years ago only 1 in 40 was. This shows that the proportion of struggling homeowners continues to climb—even though the percent of mortgage

Virginia's Proposed Payday Regulations Aim to Keep Industry Honest

The proposed regulations issued Tuesday, August 4 by the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions (BFI) confirm that payday lenders continue at every turn to avoid regulation. The Center for Responsible Lending applauds BFI for providing guidance and oversight of this industry, particularly when the legislature has allowed so many loopholes. The proposed regulations will: Prevent the industry's practice of avoiding state laws and regulation under cover of affiliate relationships. Prevent the industry from avoiding the 2008 and 2009 reforms by adding ancillary products such as life insurance

Loan Servicers Show Failing Performance

The report card issued by the Treasury Department today shows that financial companies deserve a failing grade in their voluntary efforts to modify home loans to help restore the U.S. economy. The results reveal that only 15 of every 100 families who are eligible for a modification of their mortgage have been offered one. That's 85 distressed families left with the prospect of losing their home for every 15 offered a helping hand. We applaud the Obama administration for providing data from individual loan-servicing companies to shed greater light on how tax dollars are being spent. This is a

NCUA calls for 18% cap

The Center for Responsible Lending applauds the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for issuing guidance Wednesday to federal credit unions about payday loans, warning them of reputational and other risks connected with this activity. NCUA notes that fees including participation fees and minimum monthly charges should be counted towards the 18% APR cap. NCUA notes "…borrowers find themselves in cycles where their loans roll over repeatedly, incurring high fees…NCUA believes this dependence often reflects or exacerbates other financial difficulties payday loan borrowers are experiencing

Increasing Foreclosures Swallow Modest Gains in Mortgage Repairs

As the Treasury Department urges mortgage servicing companies to step up their efforts to stop foreclosures, the latest available figures show that the number of households at risk of foreclosure is seven times the number of loan modifications, and the gap has increased steadily for the past year. Visit the CRL web site for more information on how foreclosures continue to dwarf modifications. Although loan modifications are up from very low levels last year, the rapid growth of serious delinquencies and new foreclosure starts is swallowing modest gains in efforts by loan companies to fix the

Proposed Fed Rules on Mortgage Lending Hold Great Promise

Today the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) issued proposed rules that hold great promise for eliminating abusive and unfair practices that have become commonplace in the mortgage industry. If fully implemented, these rules could remove perverse incentives that now encourage mortgage brokers and lenders to routinely overcharge on mortgages, particularly higher-cost mortgages. Under the proposed rules, brokers and loan officers could no longer get paid more for placing people in more expensive loans. Kickbacks—known as yield-spread premiums (YSPs)—would be completely banned. This measure would be

Regulatory Failures Show Clear Need for Agency

A new policy brief by the Center for Responsible Lending chronicles the repeated failure of federal bank regulators over the years to rein in irresponsible lending practices. Example after example of regulatory delay or inaction demonstrates the need for a stand-alone, independent regulator focused solely on ensuring basic, common-sense safeguards for consumers. For the full report, please go here. Here are some examples of the regulatory lapses documented by CRL in its policy brief, titled "Neglect and Inaction: An Analysis of Federal Banking Regulators' Failure to Enforce Consumer

Time for fairness and economic justice

During the surge of media attention on today's historic meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and President Barack Obama, it is important to note that only days before His Holiness used his own moral authority to express concerns for the current financial crisis. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), the Pope speaks to the developments that led to the current global economic crisis, naming badly-managed and short-sighted financial practices among its causes. He urges financiers to "rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity". Pope Benedict's words are a

Phantom Demand: Unfair Payday Loan Terms Generate Most of Loan Volume

Washington, DC - A full three quarters of the payday industry's loan volume is generated by borrowers who, after repaying one payday loan, must take out another before their next paycheck, new Center for Responsible Lending research shows. Payday churning?repeat borrowing of what payday lenders market as a short-term loan of a few hundred dollars?has been well documented. But the Center for Responsible lending's new report goes further by verifying for the first time how quickly most payday customers must turn around and re-borrow after repaying a previous payday loan. Among the over 80